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Full text of "My Country And My People"

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end of life and arc conscious of it. For the Chinese the end
of life lies not in life after death, for the idea that we live in
order to die, as taught by Christianity, is incomprehensible;
nor in Nirvana, for that is too metaphysical; nor in the satis-
faction of accomplishment, for that is too vainglorious; nor
yet in progress for progress' sake, for that is meaningless. The
true end, the Chinese have decided in a singularly clear manner,
lies in the enjoyment of a simple life, especially the family life,
and in harmonious social relationships. The first poem that a
child learns in school runs:

While soft clouds by warm breezes are wafted in the morn,
Lured by flowers, past the river I roam on and on.
They'll say, "Look at that old man on a spree!"
And know not that my spirit's on happiness borne.

That represents to the Chinese, not just a pleasant poetic
mood but the summum bonum of life. The Chinese ideal of life
is drunk through with this sentiment. It is an ideal of life
that is neither particularly ambitious nor metaphysical, but
nevertheless immensely real. It is, I must say, a brilliantly
simple ideal, so brilliantly simple that only die matter-of-
fact Chinese mind could have conceived it, and yet one often
wonders how the West could have failed to see that the mean-
ing of life lies in the sane and healthy enjoyment of it. The
difference between China and the West seems to be that the
Westerners have a greater capacity for getting and making
more things and a lesser ability to enjoy them, while the
Chinese have a greater determination and capacity to enjoy
the few things they have. This trait, our concentration on
earthly happiness, is as much a result as a cause of the absence
of religion. For if one cannot believe in the life hereafter as
the consummation of the present life, one is forced to make the
-most of this life before the farce is over. The absence of religion
makes this concentration possible.

From this a humanism has developed which frankly pro-
claims a man-centred universe, and lays down the rule that
the end of all knowledge is to serve human happiness. The
humanizing of knowledge is not an easy thing, for the moment